Meet the mom who is on a mission to make baby foods healthy and nutritious
Sridevi Ashala, a former techie, is the founder of Tummy Friendly Foods, a food brand that produces easy-to-cook and nutritious meals for babies and toddlers.
A software engineer with over 15 years of experience working in companies like Amba Research and Agile Enterprise Solutions, Sridevi Ashala’s life suddenly took an unexpected turn.
“Like any other young couple doing well in life, my husband and I would explore different restaurants in Bengaluru. But little did we realise that eating all that junk food would lead to my first miscarriage. This incident was a big turning point in my life,” Sridevi tells HerStory.
This experience led her to devote her time to improving her health and lifestyle. While researching nutrition and diet, she realised that there was a lack of nutritious food options for babies. Soon, she left her job in the tech world to establishin January 2020 with an initial bootstrapping.
Tummy Friendly Foods (TFF) addresses the lack of nutritious baby food products that are available in the market. The homegrown food products brand caters to the nutritional requirements of infants who have started eating solid food.
Nutrition is a vital part of children’s growth and development. However, market shelves are often filled with products that are not as nutritious as they claim to be. According to a 2019 World Health Organization (WHO) study, baby food often contains dangerous levels of sugar content.
TFF uses organic ingredients such as grains, fruits, and vegetables to make different ready-to-cook porridge mixes that are packed and sold. The brand has been certified by FSSAI, USDA Organic, Jaivik Bharat, and India Organic.
Sridevi adds that many known brands in the market produce baby products that are heavily doused in chemicals and preservatives.
“The packaged food for babies found in the market are often filled, highly processed and loaded with all sorts of chemicals for a longer shelf-life. Microbiomes that are present in our environment can contaminate food, and a child’s gut is not strong enough to digest microbiome contaminated food,” Sridevi says.
TFF aims to ensure the best hygiene practices and claims to take necessary measures to eliminate the microbiomes from their products and premises. With the help of in-house labs, TFF conducts microbial contamination checks and tests the nutritional levels of the products according to the guidelines set by the Bureau of Indian Standards.
The products are classified into three different stages - Stage 1 (for infants aged six months onwards), Stage 2 (for infants who are seven months and above) and Stage 3 (for infants aged eight months and above).
The price of the products is between Rs 200 and Rs 600, with a few combinations being sold at Rs 900. The average order value is around Rs 250 with a basket size of two items per transaction.
Challenges on the way
When Sridevi started up, understanding the technical aspects of the food industry posed the biggest challenge.
“I was always passionate about nutrition as I have been making food for my daughters since their birth. But I could not pack and sell the same thing that I cooked. The technical aspects of the food industry such as lab tests for ensuring nutritional levels and packaging techniques required more people,” Sridevi says.
Sridevi added that the core team consisted of mothers in the neighbourhood whom she approached for collaboration.
“I found that many of the mothers in my neighbourhood shared the same concerns as me about not having good quality food for babies. After building this core team, I approached nutritionists, food technologists, and found mentors in each field to guide me,” she says.
Before launching in the market, Sridevi shared the products with her family and friends who gave her positive feedback. This inspired her to release her products in the market.
Despite having a fierce market competition from big brands like Nestle, Pediasure, and others, Sridevi feels her products are doing comfortably fine.
Today, TFF is making strides in the market with a monthly turnover of Rs 10 lakh. The products are available on eCommerce platforms like, , , , and .
Sridevi shares that TFF is planning to scale up the business in the organic baby and adult food segment and introduce new products such as healthy and organic snacks for both kids and adults. It also plans to create brand awareness.
Edited by Kanishk Singh